T.K. Blue

Another Blue

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For some reason, Talib Kibwe -- the alto saxophonist and flutist well known in the jazz community for his efforts as a sideman with Randy Weston, Abdullah Ibrahim and others -- chose the moniker T.K. Blue for this album. Thankfully, it isn't a phony affectation disguising some overbearing smooth jazz or funk project. Kibwe presents a program of modern jazz from different perspectives, all well played and thoughtfully conceived. Help comes from pianists James Weidman, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Michael Cochran and Weston (one cut), bassists Santi Debriano and Calvin Hill, trumpeters Eddie Henderson and Tony Branker, trombonist Bob Ferrel, drummers Cecil Brooks III and Greg Bufford, and percussionist Guilherme Franco, all expert jazz expressionists. Two of the first three cuts feature the Kibwe-Branker-Ferrel front line; "Chant for Peace Eternal" is a dramatic, modern modal line with the dynamic Cochran, an outstanding piece with Kibwe's high-pitched alto, while "Evening Prayer" is a slow candle-melter led by hymnal flute and bass (Hill). Henderson's feature is the Miles Davis hard bopper "Solar," with Kibwe's alto in a definite Charlie Parker mode. Another hard swinger, Wayne Shorter's "This Is for Albert," has Kibwe on soprano sax, and he picks up the flute again for the cat-quick Bud Powell piece "Hallucinations," aka "Budo." Kibwe has an individualistic sound on alto, as he displays for the bluesy funk arrangement of "You Go to My Head" and the straight blues of the title track. Flute combines with alto on seperate segments of the funky calypso "Pileau," while his flute and the guitar of Lenny Argese plead their romantic case in front of a nonplussed Weidman on the ballad "It's Really All About Love." Kibwe plays the mbira, introducing Weidman's freely wafting piano, then switches to direct drive alto during "Crossings," while his alto meshes gear changes kinetically with Weston on the stunning, surrealistic, waltz-flavored take of "A Night in Tunisia." The jazz community cries for more from the talented Kibwe, especially if can put together a working band. Hopefully he'll drop the pretense with the pseudo-name, and play the solid jazz-based music we hear on this fine recording.

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